T.S. Eliot

Author: T.S. Eliot

Profile: T. S. Eliot was an American born British poet, playwright, editor, essayist, critic and publisher. He is considered as one of the major poets of the twentieth century.

He was born in St. Louis, Missouri, U.S. and died in London, England. He completed his education at Harvard University (AB, AM, PhD candidate and Merton College, Oxford. In 1914 he moved to England, settled, worked and married there. At the age of 39 years, in 1927 he became a British subject. Later on he renounced his citizenship in America. His spouse was Vivienne Haigh-Wood.

He belonged to a Boston Brahmin family with roots in New England and England. While his father was a successful president, businessman and treasurer in St. Louis at the Hydraulic-Press Brick Company, his mother was a social worker and wrote poetry. Right from childhood, Eliot was infatuated with literature. His love for literature gradually developed even though he remained isolated due to his physical limitations of suffering from congenital double inguinal hernia. His obsession for books developed once he began reading favorite tales. He has also credited his hometown with fuelling his vision towards literature. Eliot completed his education at Smith Academy, Washington University (at the boys college preparatory division).


Writing style: The skillful writer, T. S. Eliot presents the chaos of thinking of the modern man using the stream-of-consciousness. A number of techniques including fragmentation, repetition, imagism and various other modernist techniques are used by him.

Published Texts:

Earliest Works


1905 – The Birds of Prey

1905 – A Tale of a Whale

1905 – The Man Who Was King

1909 – The Wine and the Puritans

1909 – The Point of View

1909 – Gentlemen and Seamen

1909 – Egoist


1905 – A Fable for Feasters

1905 – If Time and Space as Sages Say – A Lyric

1905 – At Graduation 1905

1907 – Song: If space and time, as sages say

1908 – Before Morning

1908 – Circe’s Palace

1909 – Song: When we came home across the hill

1909 – On a Portrait

1909 – Nocturne

1910 – Humoresque

1910 – Spleen

1910 – (Class) Ode


1917 – Prufrock and Other Observations

1920 – Poems

1922 – The Waste Land

1925 – The Hollow Men

1927 – 1954 – Ariel Poems

1930 – Ash Wednesday

1931 – Coriolan

1939 – Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats

1939 – The Marching Song of the Pollicle Dogs and Billy M’caw: The Remarkable Parrot

1945 – Four Quartets

Macavity: The Mystery Cat


1926 – Sweeney Agonistes

1934 – The Rock

1935 – Murder in the Cathedral

1939 – The Family Reunion

1949 – The Cocktail Party

1953 – The Confidential Clerk

1959 – The Elder Statesman


1939, 1948 – Christianity & Culture

1920 – The Second Order Mind

1920 – Tradition and the Individual Talent

1920 – The Sacred Wood: Essays on Poetry and Criticism

1924 – Homage to John Dryden

1928 – Shakespeare and the Stoicism of Seneca

1928 – For Lancelot Andrewes

1929 – Dante

1932 – Selected Essays

1933 – The Use of Poetry and the Use of Criticism

1934 – After Strange Gods

1934 – Elizabethan Essays

1936 – Essays Ancient and Modern

1939 – The Idea of a Christian Society

1941 – A Choice of Kipling’s Verse

1948 – Notes Towards the Definition of Culture

1951 – Poetry and Drama

1954 – The Three Voices of Poetry

1956 – The Frontiers of Criticism

1943 – On Poetry and Poets

Posthumous Publications

1965 – To Criticize the Critic

1974 – The Waste Land: Facsimile Edition

1996 – Inventions of the March Hare: Poems


Awards and Acknowledgements:

National or State Honours

1948 – Order of Merit

1964 – Presidential Medal of Freedom

1951 – Officier de la Legion d’Honneur

1960 – Commandeur de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres

Literary Awards

1948 – Nobel Prize in Literature (for pioneer, outstanding contribution to present-day poetry)

1955 – Hanseatic Goethe Prize (of Hamburg)

1959 – Dante Medal (of Florence)

Drama Awards

1950 – Tony Award for Best Play for the Broadway production of The Cocktail Party

1983 – Tony Award for Best Book of a Musical for his poems used in the musical Cats (posthumous award)

1983 – Tony Award for Best Original Score for his poems used in the Musical Cats (posthumous award – shared with Andrew Lloyd-Webber)

Music Awards

1982 – Ivor Novello Award for Best Song Musically and Lyrically for his poems used in the song ‘Memory’

Academic Awards

1935 – Inducted into Phi Beta Kappa

Thirteen Honorary Doctorates (including ones from Oxford, Cambridge, the Sorbonne and Harvard)

Miscellaneous Honours

Eliot College of the University of Kent, England named in his honour

Celebrated on U.S. commemorative postage stamps

Star on the St. Louis Walk of Fame

1915 – The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock

1922 – The Waste Land

1943 – Four Quartets

1935 – Murder in the Cathedral

1948 – Nobel Prize in Literature

1948 – Order of Merit